The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) wants parents in East Tennessee to be on the lookout for an important letter arriving in the mail soon.

Select families with school-age children in Greene, Hancock, and Hawkins counties will receive a Tennessee Summer EBT for Kids card by May 25. Each card will be loaded with $30 in monthly food benefits per eligible child that can be used for food purchases from May 25 through August 31.

This is the first year for the program in Tennessee. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is sponsoring the program as a pilot project in partnership with the TDHS, Tennessee Department of Education and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee.

“Ensuring children are getting the nutrition they need during the summer months is essential to our mission of building strong communities and a thriving Tennessee.” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “We know that some families depend on the Free and Reduced Lunch program during the school year to provide nutritious meals for their children. Our hope is that the Tennessee Summer EBT for Kids program will give parents additional resources and support during the summer months.”

Families do not need to apply for these benefits. Eligibility will be automatically determined by schools in those counties and a student’s participation in the Free and Reduced Lunch program. The Summer EBT for Kids benefits will not impact a household’s existing government support or benefits.

The cards will be easily recognizable by cartoon characters Suzie Strawberry and Carl Corncob on the front and will be useable at any location that accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Families that do not receive a card by May 25 but believe they are eligible or families that do not want to participate in the program are encouraged to call 833-402-4700 or email The deadline to opt out is May 3, 2018.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at